Ran the Ukrop's Monument 10K today...another race that I had wanted to run last year but waited too long to sign up missed out. Billed as one of the largest 10Ks in the country with over 25,000 signed up last year and over 30,000 this year. The out and back race is run in Richmond...our state's capitol...on Monument Ave which is a four lane city road split in the middle by a large median with about six monuments spaced at major intersections. We go up one side at a gentle incline and come back on the other with a gentle downhill. The monuments are huge but it's funny how I only remember running by three of them...my thoughts must have been elsewhere...the racers in front of me, the racers behind and of course the crowd of people on either sides of the road cheering us on. The race is chip timed and started in corrals with the elite starting at 8:00 and then corral A...which was my corral!...two minutes later and then the other 20 or so corrals every four minutes.
The weather forecast all week, and even up to the last day, painted a gloomy day with 70-90% chance of rain with thunderstorms. At least the temperatures were to be in the 60's and very little wind. Checking the race day radar showed intermittent groups of showers to pass over the area during the morning.
I woke up early in the morning, got my shower, ate my breakfast and drove the over 100 miles to Richmond. The race starts at 8:30 and I got there early enough to get a nice parking spot in one of the parking garages near the finish line...the start line is about four blocks over...and was able to visit the port-a-lets that lined one side of the small park where the finish festivities were to take place. I must have gotten into one of the potties that no one had used yet because the toilet paper was still wrapped and no stinky smell. But one disadvantage of being the first one is that the blue liquid they put in there may splash up and onto you...I know you wanted to know that...but it was quite a surprise when I hear this splash and then feel the cold wet on my bum...yuck! What else could go wrong on this day? The whole week I had been feeling tired and weary...and the last couple of days it seemed like I was catching something. My training hadn't been what it should have been either and I seemed to just go through the motions to get it done, so I didn't know what to expect on race day. My main goal was to break 40 minutes and today didn't quite feel like it would happen. The weather was bad, I was feeling bad, the roads were wet and slippery and the air was humid...and now the toilet splashes me.
I ran part of my warm-up running to the start line and then ran three laps up and down a few blocks on Broad St...where the race starts...for about two miles. On one of the laps I run into Bill...the guy who kept beating me in the Mud in Your Eye cross country series and we chatted a bit while warming up. He invited me to go out with him since he was starting at around a 6:30 pace. I get back to the starting corral A, which is already filling up and I can't find an opening in the railing along the sides so I just climb over it and then head to near the front of the corral. I see Bill and also see Jim...one of the top 50-54 AG runners in the area...about a row of runners in front of me. I look around for other familiar faces and don't see any but looking around I see all these really fit runners in my corral and start asking myself if I really should be up here with these guys and gals but I kept telling myself that I belong there just like the rest of them.
At 8:00 the elites are given the Go!...and they are off racing up the street. Our corral edges up to the start line and two minutes later we are off and running also. Up Broad St we go and then cut left onto Lombardy and then right onto Monument Ave. I'm looking for Bill to pace with but don't see him...later I found out he ended up behind during the first 1-200 meters. I also see Jim way out in the front pack of runners from our corral. The first mile comes up and it is 6:09...a bit fast but not my usual jack rabbit start of under 6 minutes...but I'm breathing hard so I back off a bit...there's still a long ways to go. My plan was to start slow...6:20-6:30 pace...the first three miles and at the turn around to kick it up a bit...so 6:09 was about 11 seconds faster than I wanted. We are also in a bit of a headwind which feels nice in the warm, humid feeling air. Mile two is in 6:17...getting down where I wanted but still a bit fast. About half way to the three mile marker we start seeing the elites coming back on the other side...they sure look smooth and fast...like greyhounds. After a bit we see the lead runners in our corral so I know the turn around is just ahead and mile three is in 6:29...oops...just a bit too slow now but here's where I kick it up a notch. We make the turn and now we have a slight tail wind and gradual downhill and we pass the 5K mat and the timer and it reads 21:35...which makes me think for a minute that I'm behind my goal, but I realize that since our corral started two minutes after the clock was started, it really is 19:35. I also realize that I need to maintain the same speed/pace or I won't be breaking 4o minutes this day...so I try to pick up the pace passing a few runners ahead of me and mile four is in 6:13...Yeah, I can do this...but fatigue starts to set in a few minutes later and mile five is in 6:21. Still doing good and about that time I hear someone cheering Bill on and I know that he is behind me so I will myself to go faster and mile six comes in at 6:11. Just 0.2 more to go and I can make out the finish banner down the street and just about that time I also see Bill passing me on my right...how could that happen? I tried to keep him near and then sprint for the finish but he beats me to the finish, but I don't really care...because the time on the clock says 41:02 and my watch says 39.02...Yeah! The last of my 2007 goals achieved! For the record, the last 0.2 was in 1:20. The rain is starting to pick up now but I don't care about that either. I congratulate Bill and the runners around me, get my chip off, get some water and food. Bill and Jim are talking about running the course a second time and invite me to join them but I bow out...I want to do a long run tomorrow. Oh...the final chip time is: 38:56!...a PR from my previous 40:34 by 1:38. So I not only got my 2007 goal of under 40 minutes, I also got my 2008 goal of under 39 minutes for this year...so it looks like I need to revise my 10K goal to break 38:30 now. It's raining harder now, but I don't really care!
There were 840 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 24,055 total finishers
Overall finish place was 123 of 24,055
Age group finish place was 5 of 840
Time: 38:56 for an overall pace of 6:16 per mile
Mon: 51 min Elliptical, 51 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper
Tue: 7.15 miles run, 20 min on Elliptical, 15 min Stairstepper
Wed: 50 min Elliptical, 50 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper
Thu: 7.2 miles run, 15 min Elliptical, 13 min Stairstepper
Fri: 30 min Elliptical, 30 min Cycle, 13 min Stairstepper
Sat: 10K race with 2 miles warm-up
Sun: 36 min Elliptical, 36 min Cycle, 21 min Stairstepper
No scheduled race for next weekend. There is a 5K at Fort Story but I do want to get in a 20 miler instead.
Speaking of race scheduling...it looks like I maybe able to run the Country Music Marathon in Nashville on 26 April now. A trip that kept me from going in the first place for that weekend fell through and now will be done another week. I'm just wondering if I can do CMM one week and Frederick the next? The Frederick marathon has a deferral policy, so I could defer to next year...or I could go ahead and run it easy just to do it too! Of the two, I really would rather do the CMM this year. I hate decisions like these!
You all have a great weekend and week! I will!